May 11, 2022

Side effects, dosage, alternatives and how they work

Pentasa can cause mild or severe side effects. The following lists contain some of the main side effects that can occur when taking Pentasa. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Pentasa, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you advice on how to deal with side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

To note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks the side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA of a side effect you have had with Pentasa, you can do so via MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Pentasa may include:

Most of these side effects may disappear within a few days or weeks. But if they get worse or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

*This is a partial list of mild Pentasa side effects. For more information about other mild side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or read the Pentasa package leaflet. prescribing information.
† For more information on this side effect, see “Details of side effects” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Pentasa are not common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you experience any serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms are life-threatening or you think you have a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms may include:

  • Liver problems. Symptoms can include:
  • Kidney problems. Symptoms can include:
  • Mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome. With this condition, your body is unable to tolerate mesalamine, the active drug in Pentasa. Symptoms may be similar to a flare-up of ulcerative colitis (UC), which Pentasa is used to treat, and may include:
    • abdominal pain or cramps
  • Severe skin reactions.*
  • Bloody diarrhea*
  • Allergic reaction.*

* For more information on this side effect, see ‘Details of side effects’ below.

Details of side effects

Here are some details about some side effects that this drug can cause. To find out how often side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for pentas.

Skin reactions

Severe skin reactions, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis, may occur when taking Pentasa. This side effect has not been reported in Pentasa clinical tests. However, there have been rare cases since the drug was approved for use.

Symptoms of skin reactions may include:

  • rash that may peel or blister
  • cough
  • aches
  • fever

These reactions are rare, but they can be life-threatening and require treatment in hospital. If you think you are having a severe skin reaction, you should stop taking Pentasa and contact your doctor immediately. If your symptoms are life-threatening, seek emergency care immediately by calling 911 or your local emergency number.

Your doctor will probably tell you to stop taking Pentasa if you have a serious skin reaction to the medicine. They can discuss other treatment options for UC with you.

Hair loss

Some people taking Pentasa have reported hair loss clinical tests. But it was a rare side effect in trials. It is not known if Pentasa causes hair loss.

If you are concerned about hair loss while taking Pentasa, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Your pharmacist can recommend over-the-counter products to combat hair loss. Also, you can read more about hair loss treatments in this article.

bloody diarrhea

Some people may experience bloody diarrhea while taking Pentasa. In clinical teststhis side effect was less common, while bloodless diarrhea was more common.

Bloody diarrhea can be a symptom of UC, which Pentasa is used to treat. However, it can also be a sign of a serious condition called mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome. With this condition, your body is unable to tolerate mesalamine, the active drug in Pentasa.

Symptoms of mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome may resemble a flare-up of UC. For more on these symptoms, see “Serious Side Effects” above.

If you have bloody diarrhea or symptoms of mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome, call your doctor right away. They will help you determine what is causing your symptoms. If you suffer from an acute mesalamine intolerance syndrome, your doctor will probably recommend that you stop taking Pentasa.

Allergic reaction

As with most medicines, some people may have an allergic reaction after taking Pentasa. An allergic reaction was reported when the drug first became available. However, it is not known whether Pentasa causes an allergic reaction for sure. This is because the allergic reaction did not occur in clinical tests drug.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction may include:

A more serious allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include:

  • swelling under the skin, usually in the eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of the tongue, mouth or throat
  • difficulty breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Pentasa, as the reaction could become serious. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms are life-threatening or you think you have a medical emergency.


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